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Buddhadharma : Spring 2012
38 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SPRING 2 0 1 2 we are already pre-enlightened, Mahamudra does not use these terms re-enlightened and pre- enlightened. However at the fourth stage of non- meditation the meaning is basically the same. The Dzogchen path begins with rigpa being pointed out. This is like being shown the begin- ning of the road. One should not just stand there and wait, but must move forward. Sometimes people misunderstand and think it is enough to have received the pointing-out instruction and recognized rigpa in one’s experience, and that they have achieved all there is to achieve. This however is not sufficient. Recognizing rigpa is only the beginning of the Dzogchen path. We need to follow through and it requires a lot of perseverance. Giving the pointing-out instruction is like pointing to the ground and saying, “This is the road to Lhasa.” If you just stand there, you will never get to Lhasa. You need to proceed step by step along the road, putting one foot in front of the other. Similarly, having recognized rigpa, you need to train and progress along the path. Of course you could say that the perse- verance is effortless, but this definitely does not mean that we should ignore the need for practice. It is said that there are two types of Dzogchen practitioners: the lazy type and the diligent type. For the lazy type there is the practice of trekchö, the training in primordial purity. For the diligent practitioner there is the tögal path of training in spontaneous presence. But in both cases there is still the need to practice. There are four stages of development in Dzogchen. The first stage comes with recogniz- ing rigpa, which is sometimes called manifest dharmata, or innate nature—the natural state seen as it actually is. As you progress and your experience deepens, the second stage is called increased meditative experience. The third stage is awareness reaching fullness while the fourth is the exhaustion of all concepts and dualistic phenomena. This last stage is equivalent to the stage of nonmeditation in Mahamudra. As men- tioned above, the ultimate state of enlightenment is being re-enlightened in the pre-enlightened original ground. The great Dzogchen master Paltrül Rinpoche often told his disciples, “You should leave room for progress. You should not think that you are already there and that there is nothing more to attain. Even though it is the state of rigpa, leave room for progress. Don’t be satisfied, it’s too early. There is still room for improvement in your practice.” What is pointed out according to the Maha- mudra approach is the true state of original wakefulness as your ordinary mind. Once this has been pointed out to you, it is called mind- essence. The instruction is: “Look into mind- essence. Sustain mind-essence. This is the way.” According to Dzogchen instructions, what is pointed out is called rigpa, which is the intrinsic original wakefulness that is present within you. Once it is pointed out you recognize rigpa and sustain it. There is no real difference between these two teachings. Of course, there are some extra instructions in the two systems. It is like approaching Bodhgaya from the south or the north—both roads lead to the same destination. The pointing-out instruction is the same as show- ing the unmistaken way that leads straight to Bodhgaya. If one truly recognizes the way one needs to train to be enlightened, and if one fol- lows this exactly, there is no doubt that this is the unmistaken path. However, one must still follow the path. How swiftly you reach the goal is entirely up to you and your diligence. After having given Gampopa all the neces- sary instructions on meditation, Milarepa told him, “Now it is up to you to go and practice.” As Gampopa was leaving, Milarepa accompa- nied him for a stretch. At one point he stopped and told Gampopa, “I have given you all the teachings, but there is one instruction I have held back.” Gampopa thought that he should make a mandala offering, and as he made preparations to do so, Milarepa said, “There is no need to offer a mandala. I will just give you this teach- ing.” Milarepa turned around, lifted his skirt, and bared his buttocks. They were so calloused that Gampopa could not tell whether they were There is not one awakened state called Mahamudra and a separate one known as Dzogchen. It is all of one taste within the expanse of dharmakaya. (Opposite) Garab Dorje Date/source unknown Garab Dorje is considered the first human master of the Dzogchen teachings in an unbroken lineage originating with the primordial buddha Samantabhadra.